Tyler Shaddix’s house looks like most of the other houses on his block in a subdivision not far from the UC Merced campus.
It’s what’s inside that’s different – the home office of a startup company offering a web service that has, in less than a year, become very popular with government agencies, large companies and universities across the country and around the world.
Shaddix and his partners Jared Calinisan, also a graduating senior, and Jorge Marquez, a grad student, have been working on the company while going to school. After graduation in May, Shaddix will be able to devote his full attention to Tin Bin, the company they’ve started based around a product Shaddix designed.
It’s called OOcharts, and it started, as many such developments do, as a way to solve a problem.
“I was working on a website for a client and needed a certain function,” Shaddix explained. “I couldn’t find it on the Web, so I wrote it in a week, put it up on a server and forgot about it.”
But others discovered it.
OOcharts allows users to tailor Google analytics to their own needs, and creates charts for the information they specifically request. No one had come up with this code before for Google, and once universities and companies found Shaddix’s free code, they went nuts.
In eight months, OOcharts has gained nearly 800 users, and has had 3 million requests for analytics charts. In one day recently, OOcharts received 146,000 requests – nearly 100,000 more than the single-day limit.
The service is mostly for web developers, but Shaddix said he and his partners have a very casual relationship with the companies and agencies that use OOcharts, so they have gotten to know some CEOs, people with a federal reserve bank, people with city governments in the U.S., Canada and Italy, developers in ecommerce and at multiple universities – “and those are just the ones we know,” he said.
Tin Bin (so named because Shaddix remembers his engineer grandfather using coffee cans to keep all of his projects and thoughts organized) is working on a new version of OOcharts and figuring out how to make it pay, though Shaddix said he doesn’t want to charge a lot.
“Other services that collect analytics – but not Google analytics – charge a lot of money,” he said. “We want people to be able to use ours without having to mortgage the house.”
Shaddix, from Mariposa, graduates with a degree in computer science and engineering, and said he plans to stay in Merced and start his company here, instead of heading for the Silicon Valley.
Though he could have chosen other universities, Shaddix said he knew the chance to form real relationships with professors and deans and to get to conduct research made UC Merced the perfect choice for him.
But there has been an unexpected benefit, too – his fellow students.
“I knew that at a smaller campus you could really get to know the researchers. Being this close to all the work and advice and encouragement, you feel like you have your own support team,” he said. “But the other great thing about a small campus is, you can find the students who really shine.”
He found Calinisan and Marquez, who, like him, wanted to do something that could have a real effect on the world.
“That’s the thing about UC Merced,” Shaddix said. “What you do here can make a difference.”